Discrimination Suit Filed Against CT Restaurant Chain

Oct 3 2019

As featured in Patch

Employees of a restaurant in Manchester have filed a discrimination suit against its parent company.

By Chris Dehnel

MANCHESTER, CT — Two former employees of the Connecticut-based Maggie McFly’s restaurant chain have filed a discrimination suit against the company with the help of a national women’s advocacy group.

In a news release sent by the public relations firm of O’Neill and Associates, the former employees, Gianna Aconfora and Maizzy Douchette, claim they were “sexually harassed and assaulted” by a restaurant manager while employed as servers at the Maggie McFly’s location in Manchester. They also claim they were both terminated from their “positions” after complaining to management about the harassment and assaults, according to the release.

“Ms. Aconfora and Ms. Douchette allege that they were subject to comments and actions that more than meet the standard of sexual harassment under Connecticut law,” said Joshua R. Goodbaum, a partner at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. which, along with Elisabeth J. Lee, is representing Aconfora and Douchette. “Both did the right thing in reporting the harassment, and both were terminated by the company. This lawsuit charges Maggie McFly’s with protecting a predator and treating his victims like they were the perpetrators.”

The suit can be found here as listed on the state judicial system web site.

During a call placed to Maggie McFly’s corporate office, Patch was politely told no one authorized to speak about the suit was available to comment.

According to the suit, restaurant manager Daniel Therian “forced” Aconfora and Douchette to endure “pervasive sexual harassment,” including graphic language used to discuss his own and their sexual relationships and “obscene comments about their breasts, genitals, and buttocks.”

The suit also cites “inappropriate” touching, “jokes” about rape and violence that included Aconfora being slapped across the face and Douchette being “squeezed” around the throat.

“I never expected to be in this position, but I feel like it’s important to tell my story, along with my fellow server, to be a voice for other women,” Aconfora said in the release.

According to the suit, both Aconfora and Douchette were employed by the Maggie McFly’s Manchester restaurant in 2017 and 2018. Both experienced the harassment at the restaurant, according to the suit.

“Gianna and I were sexually harassed by our manager at Maggie McFly’s, both verbally and physically. He made disgusting comments about our bodies and our personal lives, and he touched both of us inappropriately,” Douchette said in the release. “When we complained to Maggie McFly’s upper management, we were both fired. We didn’t know where to turn or what to do, but a relative of mine convinced me that we should stick up for ourselves, and that there are people and organizations that would support us.”

The case was filed Oct. 2 and is now pending in Hartford Superior Court, with the docket number HHD-CV-19-6117988S., records show.

According to the release, Aconfora and Douchette are receiving legal and public relations support from the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, which helps “defray legal and public relations costs in select cases for those who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace.” The Fund is housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center, an established, national women’s rights legal organization. A network of lawyers and public relations professionals across the country work with it to provide assistance to those who have experienced harassment or retaliation.

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